Representation Matters: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month

May 21, 2021 Jacquana Beckwith

Acuity Brands is proud to celebrate and recognize our top talent. In May, we are profiling Asian American leaders who are lighting the way for our associates, customers, and communities. We sat down with them to find out about their professional motivation and get a glimpse of who they are outside of the workplace.

Anil Kumar, VP, Platforms, has been with Acuity Brands for seven months now. This is his first job working remotely. Anil has done the entire onboarding process virtually, which he says has been an interesting experience. During this time, he has learned how to shape a strong remote culture by instilling a sense of shared identity, shared values, and first principles.

When Anil’s not working, you will find him doing any of the following: walking/running while listening to Public Radio, streaming documentaries or crime shows, reading various books and articles, watching any Bay Area football or basketball games, or binge-listening to his personal favorites of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. His perfect day would include any of those things plus good food and a good nap.

AAPI Heritage Month means many things to Anil.  It's a great opportunity to celebrate the rich history, people, diversity, culture, values, and community traditions. Anil grew up in Bengaluru, known as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’, and speaks multiple languages, including Konkani, Hindi, Kannada, and Tamil. He and his family celebrate a few popular festivals, like Diwali, to ensure his children have some connection to the culture. He also encourages them to read books about different languages and cultures.

To raise awareness about important issues that impact the global Asian community, Anil feels the best resource is to learn about new cultures and traditions. He suggests reaching out to AAPI friends and colleagues and expand your network. Additionally, extend support to Asian Americans who are experiencing hate crimes and donate to India and neighboring countries experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections.”

Want to know more about Anil? Check out more from his interview below!

What is your favorite quote? 

“Culture is not a static ‘thing’ but something which everyone is constantly creating, affirming and expressing" -Mary Douglas

Who is at your dream dinner party (living or not)? Why? What are you serving?

Russ Ackoff  is at my dream dinner party because of his teaching and writings on Systems Thinking.  Whatever Russ likes, we will probably be listening & learning more than eating.  

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I would choose free lifetime education & health systems, hopefully leading to a more informed society and a better world.

If you were a car, what kind of car would you be and why?

A Honda Accord. They are reliable and dependable. The first car that I had for 16 years was a Honda Accord, still going strong I donated it to KQED, my favorite local public radio station.

What are some resources that you’d like people to be aware of? 

The background/history of AAPI Month: The month of May was chosen for two reasons: First, to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese person to the United States, a young fisherman named Manjiro, who arrived May 7, 1843. Second, May marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of workers on the transcontinental railroad were Chinese immigrants who laid the tracks and were responsible for most of the dangerous and heavy manual labor tasks.

 

My other recommendations are:

Organizations

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